DEHRADUN: While opposition Congress has formed a consensus on 50 seats in poll-bound Uttarakhand, remaining 20 seats of the state are posing a problem, as per insiders. The camps of former CM Harish Rawat and leader of opposition Pritam Singh are pushing for different leaders for these seats, which include five from Dehradun: Raipur, Doiwala, Rishikesh, Mussoorie and Sahaspur, the sources added.
In Sahaspur, it was almost certain that Aarendra Sharma, considered a member of the Pritam Singh camp, would get the Congress ticket. That changed a few months ago, when the name of youth leader and zila panchayat member Rakesh Singh Negi, backed by Harish Rawat, cropped up. Negi is now being considered a strong contender. In Doiwala, Heera Singh Bisht, who had won the seat in 2014 bypoll, was speculated to get the ticket. Now, sources say, an “unexpected and surprise name” may get the Doiwala ticket and Bisht may be shifted to Raipur.
In Raipur, Prabhu Lal Bahuguna and Mahendra Negi Guruji are in the race for Congress ticket. In Mussoorie, Congress is likely to decide between Jot Singh Gunsola and Godavari Thapli. It is a similar situation in Rishikesh, where the party is yet to take a call between Shoorveer Sajwan and Rajpal Kharola.
When contacted, Congress general secretary (administration) Mathura Dutt Joshi told TOI that “it was a healthy competition for the party ticket.” “It would be wrong to say that there are any differences. Each party member has the right to throw their hat in the ring and it’s up to the party to decide on whom to place the bet,” he said.
Joshi added that almost all parties had more than one contender for each seat and that Congress will announce its list any day now.
Both Rawat and Singh also denied being at loggerheads. Harish Rawat said, “There are no differences. A screening committee has visited areas of Garhwal and Kumaon and has directly interacted with the candidates.”